Advocate, Advocate, Advocate!!
I wish I had found the courage to advocate for myself sooner than I did. After all, we know our bodies best. Not knowing very much about fibromyalgia when I was diagnosed, I put my trust in health care providers. If I could go back to early diagnosis, I would not be so scared to let my voice be heard. When I finally found the courage to advocate for myself – I got labelled as being difficult, uncooperative and told I was not trying to improve my condition, I held my head high and stood my ground.
By Advocate I mean you should take the time to explain your condition from your viewpoint, not from a medical stance. I’m not a textbook or a website – nor does my body conform to reflect as such. Just because something is listed about fibromyalgia does not mean it will apply to your specific case. Everyones fibromyalgia journey is unique and different – symptoms we experience will be felt at different intensities and treatment plans and options will vary person to person. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I would encourage you to ask as many questions as you need to clarify with doctors. After all – It is YOUR health involved. If you don’t take the time to ask the necessary questions in regard to your health, who will? By advocating, you will help others involved understand your condition and how they can best support you. If you have a difficult time advocating for yourself there are usually organizations that one can contact who will help you advocate. Often times an advocate can be arranged to attend medical appointments with you.
Here are some following tips in advocating for your health. They have been taken from the Alberta Health Services website to share with you. Please note: if you visit this site from another country other than the province of Alberta in Canada, the information on this site may not apply to you directly. I only linked the page in reference to what is listed below.
Here are some tips that may help:
- Learn how to explain your health condition clearly. Practice speaking about your health condition with a parent, friend, or someone else you trust.
- Write down your concerns or questions before you go to your healthcare provider. It reminds you to talk about them at your appointment.
- Ask whatever questions you need answers to. It is your body and you need all the information to make informed decisions about your health.
- Keep track of all your doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers including who you see, when you see them, and what you talked about.
- Stay calm and polite, but assert yourself to get the support or information you need.
- Speak up if you don’t agree with your healthcare provider. You are the boss of your own healthcare; no one knows your body better than you do.